At risk of being somewhat reductionist, here is a bit of advice: Russians love poetry. Fuck with that at your own risk. If, for example, you tell a learned Russian that "the only real literature is prose," don't be surprised when he shivs you in the face.
According the the Russian news service RIA-Novosti:
A former teacher was detained in Russia's Urals after being accused of stabbing an acquaintance to death in a dispute about literary genres, investigators said Wednesday.
The 67-year-old victim insisted that "the only real literature is prose," the Sverdlovsk Region's branch of the Investigative Committee said.
The victim's assertion outraged the 53-year-old suspect, who favored poetry, and the dispute ended with the ex-teacher stabbing his friend to death, investigators said.
Both of the men were purportedly drunk at the time.
What can be said about this? In one sense, since it leads to a murderous dispute, the pen proves itself mightier than the sword. On the other hand, screw that noise: Dude with the blade won this round. All we can really say for sure is 1) the real truth of genres is that comedy and tragedy coexist easily; and 2) these assholes are lucky Lukács wasn't there to murder them both for decadent subjectivism and a failure to privilege the realist novel.
Relatedly, one Russian man shot another repeatedly with rubber bullets after they had a dispute over the philosophy of Immanuel Kant while waiting on line for some beers. That attack, in Rostov on Don last September, was categorically wrong. But sublime nonetheless.
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